Introduction to 802.11x Wireless Networks Standards

IEEE 802.11 Wireless Networks Standards

802.11 is nothing but a set of networking protocols that are developed by a working group of IEEE committee that defines the standards for wireless communication. This below is a part of my assignment which I thought might be useful for others to get a brief overview in the wireless domain. Below I have mentioned a brief introduction about some of the commonly used wireless standards.

  • 802.11a
    This is the first standard in the 802.11 group with a specified speed of up to 54Mbps operating in the 5GHz band, but mostly the communication occurs at 6/12/24Mbps only. It is not compatible with 802.11b and 802.11g standards. The reduced use was because of its expensive nature at the time. This standard doesn't use the FHSS or DSSS encoding scheme.

  • 802.11b
    Another name to this standard is Wi-Fi or 802.11 High Rate. It is the extended version to 802.11 for wireless LANs with transmission speed of 11 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band. Unlike 802.11a standard, this uses only DSSS scheme and is designed to work with the previous 802.11 standards that have a speed of 1/2/5.5 Mbps. It is also compatible with 802.11g standard.

  • 802.11e
    This standard defines the data transmission over any medium giving importance to the quality of service that supports LANs. It is an extension to the 802.11a and 802.11b WLAN specifications. 802.11e is compatible backward to the 802.11a and 802.11b wireless standards.

  • 802.11g
    It is one of the most popular wireless standards nowadays. This helps in transmitting over a distance of 150ft and offers a speed up to 54 Mbps with respect to the 802.11b standard that offers a speed of 11 Mbps. This standard is a result of the fast Wi-Fi that operates using 2.4 GHz band and supports DSSS encoding scheme.

  • 802.11n
    It is the newest of all standards listed in the group of wireless standards. It masters the increase in throughput in both 2.4 GHz as well as 5 GHz frequency range. The expected speed was 100 Mbps but surprisingly it might reach 600 Mbps. But, in practical operations, the speed will be much slower than expected. It is considered to be faster than the 802.11g standard.

  • 802.11ac
    This standard is also known as Wi-Fi 5 and mostly focuses on the performance and was released in 2013. 802.11ac operates below 6 Ghz range and provides transmission rate of at least 1 Gbps per multiple station whereas 500 Mbps on a single link. It is based mostly on 802.11n wireless standard.

  • 802.11ad
    This offers a higher data transfer rate than the traditional 802.11 specs up to maximum of 7 Gbps. It operates in the 60 Ghz range and is still under development. It is also known as the Gigabit Wi-Fi. 802.11ad is drafted to provide high throughput data. It is nothing but a standard for the WiGig networks and is defined as MGWS standard.

  • 802.11ax
    802.11ac is a predecessor to this wireless standard. This standard focuses on the increase in spectral efficiency of the WLAN networks and hence the overall usability. It is currently under development and is a future successor to the old 802.11ac standard. 802.11ax is also known as Wi-Fi 6 by the wireless alliance. It has a 37% high nominal data rate at the PHY layer.

  • 802.11ay
    This standard is still under development and is an extension to the existing 802.11ad that defines a new physical layer for 802.11 wireless networks. It operates in the 60 Ghz frequency band. It aims to extend throughput and range. The data rate for this standard 20 Gbit/s.

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